The concept of focus seems simple enough to most of us, right? Just dial in and concentrate and you will reap the rewards. So much of our recovery journeys, however, are spent fighting distractions and make sure we’re on track with our post-treatment plans. As easy as it seems on paper, our past-and even our present and future-have a way of compelling us to take our eye off the prize. How many of us are quick to enter a relationship when we clearly aren’t ready? How many of us take on more responsibility at work because we feel like we have to prove something to ourselves or others? How many of us feel compelled to reestablish some of the old behavioral patterns and relationships that led to our substance abuse in the first place because we’ve convinced ourselves that we can handle it.
The truth is that distraction lurks around every corner, and if we’re not careful, it can lead to relapse. This is not to say that we can’t have a full life in recovery; it just means that we have to be careful and ever mindful of our emotional growth and readiness. We can evaluate our level of readiness to take on more in life by consistently performing self-diagnostics and asking ourselves a series of fundamental questions: How have we been doing in our recovery? Are we working on the issues in our lives that we need to? What are some of the areas of our lives that could use attention? Are we ready to take on more? By asking ourselves these fundamental questions, and answering them honestly, we can give ourselves a better of idea the next life-steps for which we may or may not be ready.
If we allow distractions to become overwhelming, we leave ourselves considerably more vulnerable to setbacks. It may start off small like missing a meeting or two because of something that we feel is more important. From there, it may only be a few small steps before we’re putting the needs of others before our own in an effort to gain some level of short-term satisfaction. Before we know it, things can very quickly become unmanageable and leave us looking for new and “familiar” ways to cope. This can all be avoided by just regularly analyzing our progress and recovery and being honest regarding our capacity to focus and our ongoing needs.